It’s been 2 years now that I was thinking about doing my Yoga Teacher Training. Sick of my job in France where I was doing an interesting job but with no meanings for me, I started to think about it. Actually, I was so tensed at my job that I needed an activity that helped me release all the pressure that I had at the end of the day. When I heard about this hot power yoga studio close to where I was working, I thought that I should give it a shot. I already tried to do a vinyasa class 2 years before but it was a really relaxing one and I felt really bored. I realize now that it was certainly because of the fact that I wasn’t ready to commit enough to this new activity. Then, I discovered hot yoga. It was an epiphany for me! I always loved hot weather and the temperature of the room was around 30°. I wanted to sweat and gain some muscles without doing 3 different activities in the week (no time), done! And I especially wanted something that kept me away from the (boring and stressing) thoughts of daily life, which was also a success because of the dynamic pace of the class.
When I arrived in Australia, I already had that in mind and when I arrived in Adelaide and finally discovered Power Living Studio, I immediately fell in love with it! Each time, I came to the studio it just felt like home. Everyone was smiling at me, and not in a fake way, but just because they all seem so happy to see you. The couches, the tea and all the inspirational quotes everywhere in the studio (never had such inspirational moments in the toilets by the way!) made me feel like I had found a second home. After 3 months of classes, not on a regular basis (never been good to do that), I started to think that if I wanted to do the Yoga Teacher Training, this was really the studio where I should be doing it.
After contacting them on the website and answer some questions about my motivations, I got a call from the studio with whom I discussed a bit about the program. I was already in love but something or somebody (actually me!) still doubted the whole thing. I told my friend in my hostel about my confusion and she told me to do it because I kept talking about it since I arrived in Adelaide. But it wasn’t good enough to convince me…So I called my mum looking for advice, when I know deep down now and I think actually at that time too, that I just wanted someone to take the decision for me. I told her about my fear of losing a lot of money for nothing and blah blah blah…And she answered me something that actually the CEO of Power Living said to us 2 months after this discussion, which was: « Wrong decisions are still better than no decisions ». Translation: you better be wrong and realized that this thing wasn’t for you and move on in your life than stay at the same place for years. After that I subscribed!
But next morning I woke up with nausea. Something wasn’t right. I was doing a mistake but I already paid so I thought: Let’s give it a shot, you have paid now! Then 10 days after, the 1st module was about to begin. The first 2 hours were…horrible. I felt really uncomfortable being in a room with so many people that I didn’t know. My old beliefs started to resurface and my inner chatter was telling: “You can’t do it, you’ll never understand anything, because it’s not your native language, why did you do this? Why did you decide to spend so much money in this? You don’t even know if you want to be Yoga Teacher someday, you just really like yoga and fancy to discover more about it.”
When the facilitator asked me why I decided to go on this journey, I was happy that she interrupted these exhausting thoughts that I had and said that it was to know more about the Yogi Lifestyle and Philosophy. And when she asked about what my biggest struggle would be, I immediately said that it was the skeleton in the middle of the room! I always hated everything under the skin and seeing that, even fake, was tough for me. I actually didn’t even buy the anatomic books that were mean to be read during the course because of the red muscles pictured in it (I bought them on Kindle).
Finally, at the end of the day, I realized that it could be a special adventure. I felt more confortable about the fact that even hard I imagined it would be in my head, I would learn a lot about myself. This was actually the kind of big challenges that I wanted for my year in Australia.
For the first 2 modules (I did the 3 month Yoga Teacher Training), I felt overwhelmed in a good way by all the information that we had to remember for the final exams (I was still reinsuring myself that I would have time to revise before the actual exams) because I was so passionate about the different classes that we had all day long divided in 3 different themes: Techniques and coaching about practice teaching, philosophy lectures and anatomy.
Anatomy for me especially was really complex because I’m not English native but Philosophy Lectures were soooo inspiring! When you do yoga for a few years, you start to wander a lot about where yoga comes from? What’s the story behind it? And I definitely knew better about it at the end of the course. Then, the last class was the most challenging one. We were pretty quickly confronted to teaching other students a part of the yoga sequence that we just learned in the morning. At the beginning, I thought that I needed more time to prepare myself because I didn’t feel confident at all telling myself that I wasn’t going to remember everything…And finally, it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be (despite my big fear of speaking in front of an audience). As we were in 1-to-1 to begin, I felt released about judging from too much people. And in fact the thing to not have the time to be frightened about this experience because you are in the hurry, was so good. No time to doubt yourself, you just go with the flow! And when you succeed, you’re just feeling like: “Yeh, wasn’t that difficult after all!”.
Then, 1 month after the start of the Power Living Yoga Teacher Training, we all gathered for 1 week of retreat in Bali. I was a little bit suspicious about having to go to Bali to do the retreat. I thought at that time that it was surely commercial to do that in South Asia so everyone can tell that learned half of their Yoga Teacher Training knowledge in Asia, but as always when you’re judging too much or too fast, that was completely wrong. I arrived in the hotel where the retreat was hosted, the previous day (just in case). It was just beautiful. The hotel and the location were just amazing. The meals, the people, the swimming pools, it all felt like a dream and I couldn’t wait for the retreat’s to actually start. On D-Day, I moved into my new room with my friend and together we went to our first meeting with the group and the facilitators. Among the teachers, I recognized some of them who participated in the first modules that I had. I was really happy to see some familiar faces, both from the teachers but also from the Adelaide’s crew.
If I wanted to deeply describe what happened in this week, I couldn’t because it’s mostly experiential. The Bali retreat was the thing that I worried the most in the program because we heard from the start that it was going to be really challenging and actually it was but for the best of everyone. I had never experienced so much support in my life, never. As I allowed myself to open up about my true feelings, people supported me and I let them do so. For me, that was a really special moment. I realized that I had never open up like this to anyone, not even my family and my friends. I’m not going to explain all my triggers and limiting beliefs here, the things that we worked on during that week because it is really personal and I’m not ready yet to open that much to people that I don’t know. But I couldn’t recommend anymore this kind of retreat and especially Power Living one for those seeking to understand themselves better and also deepen their yoga practice. It’s also an amazing time to reconnect not only with your true self but also to people in general. You get to open up and see people open up and that’s the moment you realize that you are not alone to deal with your problems. People, your friends, your family, your community, is here to support and help you whatever happens. People that I’ve never met or barely know since the beginning of the program told me things that will stay in my mind forever.
What I also loved about the program was to live all of this experience with 80 people but also with my roomates in the hostel who was part of my crew in Adelaide. We got to shared special moments, discussions and laughs that I’ll cherish forever. At the end of this epic week, which as weird as it could be, seems to have lasted for 2 days but also a month, they recommended us to stay some more days to enjoy the hotel and/or visit the island in order to process all the things that we’ve been through. I didn’t and I regretted it a lot. Going to Bali to do the retreat was not “commercial” as I thought at the beginning, it was really necessary. Being outside of your comfort zone with people and in a place that you don’t know, far from the daily life and closest friends and family, you are allowed to not suffer from the judgement from people living around you.
As I got back to Adelaide, I felt that I was now stronger than ever but I was terribly wrong. I got back into the old patterns and worse than that, as I didn’t have the support from my “family” in Bali, I jumped right into bad decisions and actions. Searching for the affection that I didn’t have anymore and living far away from my family and my friends, I searched for not meaningful relationship and ending feeling more lonely than I ever felt in my life. With a broken heart, I started to deal with all the thoughts that I had in mind, without knowing where to start or what to do.
It’s only at the beginning of the next module on Assisting, when we talked about what happened after Bali, that I realized that my actions for the past 10 days, came from a place of fear and lack of self-esteem. I thought I was more aware of my actions but destiny proved me wrong. But now that I was, it was up to me to reverse the whole thing.
The 3-day class of assisting was one of my favourite. We learned how to correct our future students to better do the poses. It was really interesting to see how you can affect someone mentally and physically with only simple touches on their body. We practiced a lot too and had our final exam on assisting at the end the last afternoon of the 3-days.
Then I thought that I had 10 days to revise as each module since the beginning of the Yoga Teacher Training was 10 days apart, but I was wrong. Exam was in 6 days exactly! I started to freak out about everything: did I know every bone? Every muscle? Each scriptures of Yoga Philosophy? I started to make a lot of notes, asking some people at my hostel to interrogate me. I also saw a lot people from my Adelaide crew to revise (even though we enjoyed a lot of this time to talk about personal things, oops^^). And I arrived at the exam feeling like I knew most of everything because we got the chance to revise a lot during the week but also during the whole 3-months program. Finally, everything was fine for the writing part of the exams but the practice part was more difficult for me. Everyone passed really easily, but at some point in my teaching, the facilitator asked me to speak louder and I don’t know what happened, although what she asked was really simple, all my triggers from Bali emerged again and I melted into tears. The negative chatter came all the way and I couldn’t stop it. At lunch, the teacher offered me to do it again after the break and I said yes. With all my motivation and a bit of Madonna music, I felt like nothing could stop me and as each time I’m listening to Madonna, I started to feel like her and to not give a shit about what everyone was thinking (because my major thought was at this exact moment: everyone is going to judge me and think that I am vulnerable). But with a shot of self-confidence, I did it and finally passed!
But the most wonderful thing that I would remember from this experience is that I really start to investigate myself to know me better. Although it was and still is challenging, I learned so much. I can also now watch a skeleton without running away (even though I’m still never be a surgeon someday). But the most treasured things that I’ll keep is the people that I’ve met who changed my whole perspective about friendship. I know that the people who lived that experience with me are now long-life friends. It restored my faith in people and humanity, which I have to say, I had completely lost these last years…So for all of that, thanks to yoga who brought me up on this path and changed my life forever. The divine in me honours the divine in you. Namasté.